Halifax International Security Forum | US Secretary of Defense slams autocratic regimes

(Halifax) The US Secretary of Defense stressed the importance of maintaining support for Ukraine in a world he says is increasingly threatened by autocratic regimes.

Lloyd Austin was at the Halifax International Security Forum on Saturday when he said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “war of choice” in Ukraine is a threat to the international order that rests on rules established after World War II.

He recalled that, thanks to this world order, small states have the same rights as large ones and that democracies like the United States and Canada have security obligations from which they can evade.

“Don’t make the mistake: we won’t be drawn into Putin’s war of choice,” Austin said. But we will remain at the side of Ukraine which is fighting to defend itself. We will defend every square inch of NATO territory. »

Mr Austin warned that with the harsh winter looming in Ukraine, Mr Putin could once again resort to “deeply irresponsible displays of nuclear force”.

He added that stability and prosperity are at stake on both sides of the Atlantic.

The trade relationship between the United States and the European Union is the largest in the world. So when an aggressor creates a major security crisis in Europe, it also hits ordinary Americans and Canadians.

Lloyd Austin, United States Secretary of Defense

However, this threat is a challenge that NATO countries will meet together, he said. It is part of a larger strategy to control the aggressive tactics of countries such as China and Iran.

Mr. Austin cited the example of the Indo-Pacific region over which China is trying to expand its influence in a way that is “far from our vision of a free, stable and open international system”, he said. precise.

China’s activities in the Taiwan Strait are becoming “increasingly provocative”, he said, with Chinese planes flying near the island “almost daily”.

“These troubling trends highlight the imperative to work with our network of allies and partners across the Atlantic and Pacific to deter attacks,” Austin said.

United behind aid to Ukraine

Meanwhile, a US congressional delegation of six senators and three members of the House of Representatives has stressed the need for continued engagement with Ukraine following the midterm elections.

New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen recalled “the crucial importance” of defending democracy.

“We are a bipartisan delegation representing the entire United States. I think it’s important for us to be here,” said Ms.me Shaheen.

Republican Senator from Idaho Jim Risch noted the importance of Mr. Austin’s speech, which outlined US foreign policy, while explaining the causes.

What happens in Ukraine will dictate how the world will work for the rest of the century. How it ends will tell the autocrats what their abilities are.

Jim Risch, Republican Senator from Idaho

Democratic Delaware Senator Christ Coons said he hoped US aid to Ukraine would include more of a humanitarian component, given the military and economic support already provided.

Ukraine’s needs will only increase due to Russian bombardments affecting the country’s electricity infrastructure.

“I think there is a real risk of another wave of refugees and an escalation in humanitarian needs,” he said.

Earlier Saturday, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Canada Yulia Kovaliv told a forum panel that around 40% of her country’s power grid had been destroyed or “massively hit” by Russian missiles.

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